But we had this amusing little gig for Orient Express magazine. In essence once a quarter I’d turn up at his place in an interesting car, we’d go for a drive, Stirling would talk about said car, I’d record the conversation, turn it into a ghosted column on his behalf and we’d split the fee.
Funnily enough, those drives always seemed to end up at Ikea in Brent Cross because there’s be some widget or item of furniture required by a tenant of one of the properties owned by Stirling in London. Remarkable though it seems, if you were one of these tenants and your boiler went out, it wasn’t a janitor or handyman who came round with a bag of spanners, but arguably the greatest driver this country has ever produced.
Watching Stirling in Ikea was an education all in itself. He’d park in the bit you were only allowed to use for collections, march into the store, extend an arm to grab a free tape measure without even looking and drape it around his neck, all without breaking step. He’d then get what he needed, if he couldn’t find it he’d walk up to a member of staff, interrupt whatever conversation he or she was having, find the goods, pay up and leave. It was like watching qualifying.